I didn't really spend much time on the theory (lack of manual saw to that) or a detailed examination of the spec, but the car definitely had:
- Loft Interior World
- Driving Assistant Plus
- BMW Professional Media Package
- Enhanced Bluetooth/Voice Control
- Winter pack
- LED Headlamps
- Privacy Glass
The dealership had also helpfully included the BMW Public charge cable (accessory) and a ChargeNow card. I used neither, but thoughtful nonetheless. On pickup the car was fully charged, and with about 2/3 of a tank of fuel. I brimmed the car (just about fulfilling the minimum delivery requirement of three litres) to start logging and obtained the following stats:
Max single journey 110 miles
72 kWh charged (mix of peak and off-peak)
5.41 litres of unleaded used
£8.56 of electricity
£7.49 of unleaded
4.95 pence per mile (aggregate)
3.19 pence per mile (elec driving)
EDIT: recharge from dead takes 21 kWh, spot on for the reported 18.8kWh usable capacity plus ten percent
I forgot to zero the miles per kWh computer, but was achieving 4.5 on a motorway run in Eco Pro mode - keeping around 65.
From full charge, REx activated after about 72 miles on day 1. Day 2 I activated it manually at 75% charge (Max battery level possible to activate) in order to drive more on battery at the destination.
The REx really does kick in and out seamlessly. Both times I was on the motorway and you can only tell because of the instrument display changes (iconography and colour). It is extremely smooth and also has stop/start capability. This works much more smoothly than in an ICE car because of the buffer or residual charge allows the motor to cut out before you stop and only kick back in after you've started to roll - it's not needed in order to get you rolling. In town it is indeed audible but sounds like a muffled motorbike waiting behind you rather than having a sense of it being in the car with you. I have no idea how you access it, or add oil to it (?) or what have you. I am not a biker so have no experience of such motors. The only fluid caps I saw were in the frunk - washer fluid and either a brake/steering fluid reservoir, which was partially hidden.
The REx held a state of charge perfectly until I deactivated it coming into town after 40-odd motorway miles. Slight niggle in that this option is buried in the (admittedly excellent) updated iDrive menu structure. The system is a benchmark but having the REx control at the same depth as e.g. choosing what lighting scheme to have in the cabin (Modern or Classic) seems wrong for a major driving function. The fact that the iDrive knob is now also a touchpad makes Nav changes to choose nearby POIs a doddle. The split screen navigation is the best I've ever seen. First time I've ever used an iDrive with my left hand. Didn't half feel odd, after the LHD Active E.
So - driving it. Nothing much to add to what we all know - it's zippy, sure footed and in urban traffic nothing comes close. In and around London, where you need to be psychic to figure out a lane, the car gives you a second more thinking time and can access any gap. I knew the turning circle was tight but being able to do a u-turn in one go and manoeuvre the car into gaps I'd never attempt in any other vehicle is a revelation. It's 3999mm long - I reckon I need 4.2m to park it - astounding. I loved every minute of being behind the wheel. A very different car in feel to the Active E - and more enjoyable for it. I'm sure being 600kg lighter is the key factor, obviously,
For such a small footprint, it didn't seem to have small car compromises. I'm 6'5" and I didn't have the seat all the way back. The adjustment between that and the steering column meant I achieved a level of comfort as good as any I've achieved having driven 60-odd cars on 4 continents. It has a head restraint that I can actually put my head on. Small things, but they stand out. I like the raised driving position, but the elk test I gave it didn't present any issues except understeer.
Access to the back was fine for my 7yo lad (who loved it), and he gets a much better view in the rear than from our Prius. It may not be obvious with it having 4 doors, but the seat backs still do tip forward if needed. One definite issue though is that over-the-shoulder visibility on the onside is poor, but with a full child seat it creates a massive blind spot. Not an issue as long as you keep mobile in the cabin and lean into the onside mirror, but I've never experienced it before to such a degree.
A few niggles trying to get it to charge - in a stroke of luck/perk I managed to get my 16A Chargemaster tethered J1772 unit swapped out for the equivalent untethered Type 2 outlet model on Friday. It took a few goes repeating the connection sequence to get it to charge, and unlocking the car seems to stop the charge entirely. It got a little better (but not cured completely) once I found the options buried in the iDrive that allowed me to set the charge for both types of cable to "Maximum". The car seems to be delivered with "Reduced" being set. I'm betting I'm the first person in 4500 demo miles to get that deep into the settings, and it's a prudent play but in the absence of a manual I expect some owners may never realise. The message was the same each time: "mains current too low" - odd. Might need to do some extra testing on that type. Anyhoo, was able to charge at home and thus didn't need a public option. Not that there is much in Kent or Sussex - I'd say between the South Coast and the M25 there is a mahoosive black hole of nothing.
The lack of a physical manual is an odd one. The whole thing is contained on the iDrive, but I like to digest the thing cover to cover to learn - there doesn't even seem to be a digital download version available. I'm sure it's a treasure trove of personalisation - the car comes with 4 profiles, and you pick one every time you start it.
I'd like to be able to turn off the "Insufficient Charge to Reach Destination" warning when I have plenty of petrol to be able to do so.
The biggest issue I had was a "booming" noise at speed on dual carriageway. Around 60-65 it's really noticeable - more so than the quieter "scored disc" warble described on Grant's review thread. Personally I'd never have the 20" wheels (prefer ride quality to ten tenths handling) and the 19s may not give rise to the same noise. If I'd have had more time, I would have played with the tyre pressures to try to increase economy and also to try and tune the noise out. When I did look at the type pressure monitor, all 4 pressures were different. They were displayed in Bar too, and so would have looked more inconsistent displayed in my preferred psi.
But all in all, superb vehicle. All the advantages of a full electric vehicle, with that extra comfort of being able to just run the battery down. I do think that for long planned trips I'd carry a 5l can to make sure I didn't have to stop too often if the phasing of petrol stations relative to miles remaining wasn't great. Don't know if you can run the petrol tank dry (if you so wished) while still having charge in the battery.
It's a real head turner. On the road passengers and drivers alike looked my way. I had the thing two days, and two strangers came up to me when parked and gave me a right old grilling about it - I was happy to oblige and give them the full tour. I even shared a mutual thumbs up with a pristine white Leaf MK1.5 at a set of traffic lights in SE London on Friday night. Then I smoked him, obviously.